By Avery Sawyer
Published November 20th 2011
Source: Ebook copy for review (Thanks Ms. Sawyer!)
"Two climbed up. Two fell down.
One woke up.
In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed."-Goodreads
I first want to thank Ms. Sawyer (or should I say Ms. Schaefer) for giving me an ebook version! Notes to Self was a very captivating read that had me absorbed in Robin's story. I'm usually not too big on the whole 'sad' experience/re-growth/traumatic idea but I felt differently about this one compared to others I have read!
Robin to me was the perfect narrator for this story. She had such a distinctive voice - a fifteen year olds to be exact - that I felt myself nodding at her feelings and explanations (after all that is how old I am). It made it very easy to connect with her since she had such a strong voice. I also enjoyed her narrating because we see the experience through her eyes - which = knowing barely anything since she can't remember what happened due to her injury- and it made me keep reading in anticipation and mystery. Her best friend Emily I felt was such a big part of this story (naturally) but also in the sense that although she wasn't there literally, as the reader I still connected with her and she had a major presence. Reno is another great person in Notes to Self. I loved him. I mean I love him. He cared so much about Robin and as the only real friend she had (besides Em) he really filled up the part. I felt so touched by what he did and said. All the characters were well written and 'fleshed out' in the sense that they each had their own dynamic personality.
Although there wasn't too much of a plot. The summary does nothing to help you at all but let me say that I didn't once get bored. Not because of action but it just kept me absorbed. The way Robin pieced things together - the notes she left for herself. It all had me sucked in, the writing style was very good. I was expecting a super sad, boring, and pitiful MC and what I got was not expected (I even laughed at a few moments). The growth of Robin's character is such an amazing transformation. And I really appreciated the ending. When you read Notes to Self know this: you'll be satisfied.
I recommend this to readers of contemporary BUT please don't write it off because 'oh I don't deal with subjects like that'. It wasn't your typical traumatic story. I really really enjoyed it and I think if you have any liking to contemporary, you will too.
Louder, I pleaded with her. “Please, Em. We have to get down.” The wind wasn’t just trying to blow me all the way to I-4; it was trying to flatten everything. There’s a reason most of Florida is at sea level.
I looked down. The headlights on the street were gone. I noticed a ribbon of ocean in the air, a fresh, welcome smell, and tried to imagine myself walking on a sunlit pier over calm waters. I tried to imagine both of us there, Emily and me. Safe.
I bit my lip, hard, as Em leaned out into the night. Her eyes looked wild and unfocused, like she wouldn’t mind one bit if the wind simply carried her away with the jet stream. I held my breath and tried to grab her arm as she pulled herself back toward me. Darkness seemed to close in on us as her face turned back to mine. Her eyes were so strange: miniature Magic 8 balls, whirling and whirling as they searched for the answer to a difficult question. She gasped for air, as if she couldn’t get any inside her lungs, as if it was rushing by too fast up there, far away from the ground.
“Robin!” Emily screamed.
As for what happened next, all I know is, it was bad.